Monday, August 10, 2009

Century-Old Treasures

I stopped by an estate sale yesterday. I had shopped at this particular sale the day before and noticed an antique sewing machine cabinet in the home’s dining room. The cabinet top was closed and displayed numerous diminutive knick-knacks for sale. The room was dark and crowded, so I didn’t inspect the machine because I thought to myself, “I didn’t need another sewing machine.”

When I approached the sewing machine cabinet yesterday, however, the tiny home was not as crowded with shoppers, so I knelt down to look under the cabinet to see if indeed a machine was tucked inside. Another shopper, a man, remarked that he had also wondered if the cabinet contained a machine but had been too lazy to remove all the items placed on the cabinet’s top.

As I collected all the tiny glass figurines, porcelain vases, and painted china cups to put them aside, I told the man that I believed we’d discover a Singer model 27. When I lifted the machine head, I found that my hunch was correct. Singer’s model 27 was manufactured from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Realizing that I had unearthed a treasure, my interest was piqued. Knowing that all items were discounted by 30 percent, I was quickly losing my sales resistance.

Singer treadles from this era form stitches using a vibrating shuttle and long, slender bobbins. The man’s wife had joined us as we, along with others, gawked at the dusty machine. The man mentioned that he’d seen an accessory box inside one of the drawers. I knew that I had to have this machine the moment I opened the drawer and saw the pristine Singer puzzle box loaded with original accessories.

After I paid a mere $65 for the machine, two men loaded it into my vehicle, and I headed home. When I pulled into my driveway, I saw my sweet husband outside doing yard work. I approached my husband and offered sound reasons for my purchase. “The puzzle box alone is worth what I paid for the machine, cabinet, and the box,” I insisted. My husband shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s fine with me. I am glad you got it.”

I later learned that Singer manufactured this particular machine around November 28, 1904. After my husband set the machine in our garage, I was thrilled to discover that the treadle mechanism operates with a wooden pitman. I frequently peruse Yahoo’s Vintage Singer group and had seen photos of machines with a wooden pitman, which, in my opinion, denotes incredible workmanship.

As I mined my usual Internet resources for more information about the Singer 27, I learned that the decal set on this machine, referred to as “pheasant” is rare. I cite two trusted sources who mentioned this fact. However, my decals aren’t pristine, but I hope a gentle clean-up might brighten these elaborate decorations.

Here are photos of my new treasure, which is still dusty and grimy but in excellent condition, nonetheless. The machine is in my garage at the moment, as well. In coming days, I will attempt to clean the machine with Blue Magic TR-3. I will also oil the head and other moving parts. After I ensure that the machine is ready to roll, I will attempt to learn how to operate this mechanical marvel.

It’s quite evident to me that the previous owners loved and cared for this marvelous, 105-year-old sewing machine. I am humbled and delighted to take that torch.

Singer 27 Treadle Head

Singer Cabinet with Elaborate Carvings

Singer Puzzle Box

Wooden Pitman

Monday, August 3, 2009

Room to Sew

Long time—no post, huh? Life gets in the way. Anyway, I recently rearranged my sewing room to be much more efficient. I moved out a large armoire to make room for my 1913 Singer “red eye” treadle sewing machine.

My trusty golden retriever, Chloe, manages to eke out a space to curl up whenever I am working in my sewing room. Most of the time, however, Chloe chooses a spot where I need to stand or sit. Poor Chloe.

While flipping through a 1960s issue of “Look” magazine, I spotted an ad for one of my vintage Singer sewing machines, which is a “Model 401.” I framed this ad and added it to my display of beloved collected items.

I am enjoying my corner desk and wall unit. These pieces had been part of my daughter’s bedroom furniture. She didn’t need this desk unit any longer since has moved to a place of her own.

I am hopeful that my newly organized space will inspire me to be more productive. I shouldn't have any excuses for not sewing anymore!